Anti-family leave lobbyist takes off the mask

February 28, 2008 | Aaron Keating

It’s refreshing when someone just tells it like it is, isn’t it? A story in Wednesday’s Register-Guard (Eugene, OR) features a candid quote from a business lobbyist about family leave that is quite revealing.

Associated Oregon Industries lobbyist J.L. Wilson says his group opposed a new state law allowing Oregon workers to use their sick leave to stay home from work to care for an ill child or family member.

Not because it would cost employers money, be unmanageable, or force changes to large employers’ policies. Because it’s “a matter of principle.”

“We just didn’t think it was the place of the government to tell employers how to manage their sick leave policies,” Wilson said.

This kind of ideology would eliminate food inspectors, because it isn’t “the place” of government to tell a restaurant how to manage its food safety policies.

It would abolish the minimum wage, because (as we’ve all experienced) employers will always seek to pay their employees as much as possible.

It would strike those pesky libel and slander laws from the books too, because “the government” shouldn’t be telling newspapers and talk show hosts what they can say about others.

This talk about “the government telling employers what to do” is nonsense. Let’s get one thing straight: in a democracy, “the government” is the people.

And the ideology underlying Oregon’s sick leave law, or Family Leave Insurance here in Washington, is this:

To enjoy life, taste the fruits of liberty, and pursue happiness, we the people require economic security and opportunity. Those are the ingredients of prosperity.

No parent should have to choose between losing their livelihood and taking care of a loved one. Setting minimum workplace standards to meet the needs of today’s working families is just part of our job as citizens in a democracy.

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Posted in Paid Sick Days, Work & Family

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